The auction of critical mineral blocks will take place in the next few weeks, Mines Additional Secretary Sanjay Lohiya said on Thursday.
Critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements are essential components in rapidly growing clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles.
Demand for these minerals is growing quickly as the clean energy transition is gathering pace.
However, Lohiya did not specify the number of blocks which would be put on the block.
Replying to a query during CII's India Mining Summit, the Additional Secretary said various steps have been taken with regard to the auction of critical minerals.
The periodicity of auction will depend on the availability of mines and demand, he said.
Recently, the government released a list of 30 critical minerals. These minerals include antimony, beryllium, bismuth, cobalt, copper, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, indium, lithium, molybdenum, niobium, nickel and silicon.
The mines ministry has increased focus on exploration of these minerals in the country through Geological Survey of India (GSI) and other agencies.
A joint venture company namely Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL) has been incorporated with the equity contribution from three Central Public Sector Enterprises -- National Aluminium Company Ltd, Hindustan Copper Ltd and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd.
KABIL was incorporated with the objective to identify and acquire overseas mineral assets of critical and strategic nature such as lithium, cobalt and others, so as to ensure supply-side assurance.
KABIL has engagements with countries like Argentina and Australia to acquire critical and
strategic minerals assets.